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Nov 4, 2009 10:14 AM

Guilty Pleasures/Foods and Restaurants You are Embarrassed to Admit that You Like [Moved from W. Canada board]

I copped this idea for a thread from the Pacific Northwest board--they phrased it slightly differently (places you want to hate but secretly love). Anyway, it makes for interesting reading. No matter how great one's aspirations are to be a 'foodie', I think that each of us enjoys, perhaps secretly, foods and restaurants that are at the far end of the spectrum from gourmet cooking or fine dining.

I'll start.

1) Westernized food court 'Asian' food. Can be utterly terrible, but I'll always have a sweet memory of the ginger beef and rice combos that I frequently dined upon at the University of Calgary food court circa 2002-2003.
2) Italian-American food: Faux Italian that is usually heavy, unhealthy (lots of carbs, salt, and fat), and clumsily prepared. I'll fess up to having infrequent cravings that lead me to join the insane and unjustified lineups at Pagliacci's in Victoria. I usually go for the "Ravioli Paradiso"--spinach and ricotta ravioli tossed with sundried tomatoes, walnuts, and gorgonzola cream. Paired with their very greasy, overly salty bread (all-you-can-eat) and followed up with a dessert chaser--a slice of their leaden NY cheesecake. This kind of dinner will certainly keep companies like Tums and Rolaids in the black.
3) Tex-Mex--Horror of horrors! Restaurants using store-bought wheat flour tortillas, loads of melted generic cheese, and a paltry amount of spice. I've had more than my fair share of Tex-Mex 'combo' dinners, even in recent years (yes, I can be spotted on occasion at 'Cafe Mexico' in Victoria).
4) Ice Cream Chains: Perhaps shouldn't be included here as a lot of people have a fondness for these type of places, but I confess that I cannot go too long without procuring a coffee coffee buzz buzz milkshake at Ben and Jerry's. Ever notice how rare it is for the ma and pa, non-chain gourmet ice cream places to bother with shakes?
5) Annie's Pastas: Basically Kraft Dinner for yuppies. But yep, I like it and I eat it fairly regularly.

Would love to hear confessions from other Western Canada posters. The Pac-NW board discussion was priceless...about 10 people on that board discovered that they have a shared, secret love of Safeway deli fried chicken.

1011 Broad St, Victoria, BC V8W2A1, CA

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  1. Tex Mex is a perfectly valid cuisine- carnitas are tex mex! What you've had in VIctoria (Victoria?!) is NOT TEX MEX. It is Canadianized garbage.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      While I wouldn't argue that I've had (and enjoyed) Canadianized garbage in Victoria (a la Cafe Mexico), I also wouldn't paint the whole Mexican food scene in Victoria with one brush. Anyone who has eaten at Hernandez (which is actually more Mayan/Central American than strictly Mexican) and enjoyed one of their excellent huaraches or ordered their tacos knows how delicious and authentic they are. Actually some of the best latin American food I have found in Canada. One can also find authentic Mexican food at Orale, though it is not as good as Hernandez.

      But point taken about Tex-Mex being a valid cuisine. I tend to see the term being used as a blanket description of American-ized Mexican cuisine, but indeed there is a valid, gourmet Tex-Mex cuisine.

      1002 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8V3N7, CA

      1. re: anewton

        There is a bit of a minor surge in authentic Mexican food here it seems (a good sign). I have heard great things about both Hernandez and Orale. Next time I'm in Victoria, I have to make sure to check at least one of them out.

        Here in Vancouver, newly opened La Taqueria is getting raves for authenticity from knowledgeable people with good palates. Tacquerias here are authentic enough - Don Guacamoles, EL Taco, Dona Cata are others that offer authentic Tacos....I'm still looking for a more upscale regional Mexican experience that Tequila Kitchen promised but wasn't able to deliver.

        Tequila Kitchen
        1043 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B, CA

        1002 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8V3N7, CA

        Don Guacamole Restaurant
        1333 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6E, CA

    2. fun topic, I have got a few

      -swiss chalet chicken & sauce

      -grilled cheese sandwiches from almost any diner, but especially from Husky House, on white bread made with cheese slices not real cheddar.

      -pub food - natchos, wings, dry ribs you name it....if its fried or loaded with cheese and served with beer! Hudson's is my favorite place for this grub but it is pretty similar at any pub.

      -ichiban or Mr.noodles or any such noodle soup, the restaurant version is the ramen at Joeys

      -Tim Horton's tim bits, chocolate

      1. White Spot, Wendy's, Orange Julius for me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          Church's Chicken is another. The horror.

          1. re: fmed

            White Spot, definitely.

            Ditto for Dairy Queen.

            I blame it on childhood in Greater Vancouver.

          2. A&W onion rings, wings at pubs, Wendy's taco salad, Orange Julius, AYCE sushi, Swiss Chalet chicken and gravy, Taco Time tacos and mexi "fries".

            I have to say my biggest weakness is probably the onion rings....

            5 Replies
            1. re: slingshotz

              In that case I suggest you try the onion rings at Fatburger....

              1. re: hclass

                I must second what others have posted about wings at pubs, pub nachos, pub ribs, etc...Though fully aware that the wings most pubs use come in a bag, ready to deep-fry, I cannot help but enjoy them nonetheless, particularly when washed down with a cold beer.

                And onion rings in almost any guise are irresistible. I prefer them when the restaurant has actually made them (i.e. cut up the onions themselves and used a homemade batter) but would not blink if offered a pre-fab onion ring.

                A blast from the past...Mocha Kahlua pie at Earl's in the 1980's. Not sure if it is still on their menu, but that used to be a personal fav.

                1. re: hclass

                  Fatburger is still the best fast food burger around. And definitely get the oniion rings.

                  1. re: Michelly

                    When I was vacationing in Vegas I discovered In n' Out burger, we went 2x in a week!! and I am not a fast food burger fan. I am glad we don't have them (yet) up in Western Canada

                    1. re: cleopatra999

                      No shame in your game, In N Out is IMO one of the only fast food joints you can hold your head high and wear a t-shirt for. Not that I wear t-shirts, hmm I wonder if they sell hoodies? In anycase the cheese burger w/grilled onion and twice fried fries is my fix of choice.

              2. Denny's Grand Slam. I like the variety of options I can get.